Full back Robert Hedderman provided the match-winning score when Eoin Monahan’s crossfield kick bounced perfectly and into the basket, the try enough to see his side into the decider against Crescent Comprehensive despite an injury-time response from the Western Road outfit.
The reaction at the end of a thriller couldn’t have been more different, with Pres coach Brian McMahon bemoaning the “horrible” bounce that eluded both an attacker and defender before allowing the try scorer grab his chance.
“But it was always going to come down to something like that to decide it. We knew it was going to be a tight game — they started on fire and we didn’t. For the first 15 minutes we were a bit adrift, but got on the front foot after that, got ahead, but they were always going to come back at us. The boys put in a massive effort but the bounce was unkind to us and, look, all we can do now is wish Christians all the best in the final,” he said.
His Christians counterpart Tom Crowe said it had everything one could have asked for in a local derby. “The suspense was there right throughout the game, I thought we held our nerve, we got a bit iffy there with 15 to go but we dug out a score and it was great credit to the lads, it was a lucky bounce, we had a bit of luck but we will take it and move on.”
Christians got the early start they wanted and it was their power up front that paved the way for two scores inside the opening 20 minutes. Ronan Barry grabbed the opening try after six minutes following a rolling maul and Eoin Monahan kicked a penalty awarded for bringing down another surge from the massive Christians pack. Pres responded but missed two penalty chances before Cathal Browne went in for a 27th minute try thanks to hard work from Sean French, Ross Howell and David Harrington, with James Broderick adding the difficult conversion. Howell’s smashing second try nine minutes into the second-half gave Pres the lead and they held it right to the end of normal time under some duress until Hedderman got the all important score. Meanwhile CBC coach Tom Crowe has expressed concern the decider has been fixed for St Patrick’s Day as part of a double header with the senior final between Rockwell College v Ardscoil Rís,
Crowe believes it is unfair to expect his young players to play two games in six days, saying last night: “In my mind there is a health and safety issue, the final was originally fixed for March 26, then brought forward to the 19th and now brought forward again. In my view it is not fair and we will certainly be making our feelings known on the matter.”
CBC: R Hedderman, C Shalloe, JD O’Hea, E Barrett, D Galvin, E Monohan (captain), C Sisk, L Masters, D O’Connor, R Loftus, E Doyle, A Ryan, R Barry, B Roche, F Burke.
Replacements: P Harrington for Loftus (45), E Moloney for Barrett (51)
PBC: S French, R Howell, J Wren, S O’Donovan, N McCarthy, J Broderick, D Harrington, K Nugent, L Ryan, M Varnam, M McCarthy, L Tarbatt, D Hyland, C Browne, C Fitzgerald (capt).
Replacements: Dylan O’Callaghan for Browne, C Ryan-O’Donovan for Nugent (both 52), Temporary, Nugent for Tarbatt (54).
Referee: S Kierans (MAR).